Yes, it’s old enough to be showing on television, but I really love this movie and happily watched it yet again last night. What’s not to love? The fabulous Will Smith is fabulous in it, Bill Pullman gives a rousing speech worthy of Saint Crispen’s Day, and Jeff Goldblum is just plain adorable (I’ve got a bit of a crush on him, truth be told). Although Randy Quaid often plays roles like this, his drunken formerly abducted and probed by aliens dad turned hero is my favorite, and Judd Hirsch proves that he has some acting chops beyond those long ago Taxi days. I doubt I need to warn about spoilers on a film over ten years old, so anyone who hasn’t seen the film, here’s the nutshell:
We awaken one day to find enormous space ships strategically stationed around the globe (the United States has three of its very own positioned over D. C., NYC, and LA), and though the film doesn’t give much detail, there are some over the U.K., Asia, and the Middle East. Being naive morons, the Americans imagine this is a grand time to make friends, so we decide to have welcoming committees and the President stays in the White House to bake cookies (well, okay, not the cookie thing). Anyway, it doesn’t take long for the very intelligent “cable guy” Jeff Goldblum to figure out that those wily aliens are using our own satellites to coordinate a global attack, so off he goes with his dad in a rickety car to tell his ex-wife, who just happens to be the President’s right hand man woman.
Luckily, with this whole alien crisis thing, getting to her and the President isn’t at all difficult, so he’s able to warn them and they leave the White House just in the nick of time. It’s really quite thrilling. And some other stuff is happening, too, with Will Smith, who’s always wanted to fly the Space Shuttle but is dating a stripper and NASA apparently disapproves of this practice, and his bud Harry Connick, Jr., who is beyond adorable, thank you very much. And some other stuff with Randy Quaid and his kids. It’s sort of blah blah blah, though, for the point of summary–entertaining stuff, keyish.
Anyway, fast-forward and suddenly, we are at Area 51. Teehee. I love this stuff! (Did anyone see Steven Spielberg’s Taken on the Sci-Fi channel? Fabulous wonderful thing that it was?) Anyway, so we just happen to have a couple spare aliens down in this underground study the aliens place. But I’m not sure they’re the right aliens, so Will Smith has to come in dragging along a dazed but alive alien he just captured after a very thrilling dog fight, though it’s bitter sweet because Harry Connick gets dead just before that scene, providing Smith the impetus to go ape on the alien. He drags it in, then through some very fun special effects and bizarre and holey plotting, the President reads the mind of the alien and learns its plan for world domination. Apparently, aliens send their leaders to fight in the field, something many here on earth have advocated as a means of attaining peace. Anyway (again), the President’s mind reading insights disturb him, so he’s all set to find a way to stop them. Blah blah blah until we get to Jeff Goldblum explaining how he’ll give the aliens a computer virus (okay, so it’s shaky . . . but fun), and off he and Will Smith go to do just that.
In the meantime, though, with the aliens all tapped into our communications via sat, we Earthlings have to find another way to communicate with each other (tower of Babel, anyone?), so we elect to use “the old” Morse code, and notify everyone around the globe of our great plan to down the alien shield thingys for a couple mins, giving us all a chance to attack and blow those pesky aliens out of our collective sky. It’s an American film, so the Americans play the key role, what do you expect? She says defensively. So the whole world is on board and ready for Will and Jeff to do their thing. They do. The world is saved. The end.
With our world currently in a state of upheaval and much of it at war at the moment, I couldn’t help thinking about one world, especially during Pullman’s speech but also watching the people of this planet pull together like that. It was beautiful. And I do think possible. Um, if we’re ever attacked by aliens. If we had one common threat, I think we’d get past all our differences to combat it as a planet. Of course, I also think that once the threat was eliminated we’d be right back at each others’ throats, but hey, for that one shining moment . . . ahhhh. Those suh-ummer niiiii-ghhtts . . . .